Monthly Archives: March, 2009

Some women just choose not to be human

Human rights abuses are frequently not recognised when they happen to women. “We hide coercion inside consent” is how Catherine MacKinnon put it at her LSE talk in October last year. The abuse of women happens in private, in the family, community, religion, while the abuse of men, which is recognised, is done by the state.

Rape is recognised as a war crime when it perpetrated on a large scale by an army or a militia against women as a group, but when it happens in private, between intimates, it’s no big deal, it’s just an unfortunate misunderstanding or a ‘lovers tiff’.

Catherine Bennett writes in the Observer today about the abuse of women, but because it falls under culture and religion, it’s not seen as abuse.

The Ministry of Justice recently told the BBC: “It is not the role of government to take a position on the rites, beliefs or practices of any particular religious faith, other than where these give rise to conflict with the common law.”

This policy now sanctions treatment of women which would have looked barbaric in the 14th century. In the approach to International Women’s Day, the government admitted that, although it knows of nearly 66,000 victims of female genital mutilation living in this country, and is aware that the assaults continue, there has been, so far, not a single prosecution. In a similarly proactive spirit, it has only just got round to acting on forced marriages, which have for years been transacted more or less under the noses of the authorities, with girls disappearing from school, never to return, for all the world as if they lived in the benighted valleys of Swat, not modern Yorkshire.

If women didn’t want to be sub-human, why do they keep choosing to stay in these situations? Because every nine year old girl has the complete freedom to leave her family and her community and make it out in the world on her own, and that she doesn’t exercise such super-human agency, just proves she wants what ever she’s getting.

The same with the sex industry, women ‘choose’ to do it, so as long as we don’t look too closely at the circumstances of that ‘choice’ everything is A-Ok.

Quote of the Day

The parallels between the myth of the happy hooker and the myth of the self-sacrificing meat animal are legion. Both prostituted women and livestock are the creations of a culture of domination. Both are controlled by organized systems of oppression. Both are ostentatiously and gluttonously consumed by a privileged class. Once consumed, both are left to rot with last night’s garbage. Both represent the privileged class’s celebration of itself and its contempt for anything it happens to debase in the course of its daily pillages. And the myths about oppressed individuals choosing to serve the vulgar interests of their oppressors have been created to allow the dominant culture’s beneficiaries to sleep at night.

From I Blame the Patriarchy, in response to the Suicide Food blog.

Because Patriarchy Hurts Men Too

Found at Feminist Law Professors

Child Prostitution in Iraq

Time Magazine has an article about child prostitution/trafficking in Iraq

It emphasises that it is mothers/women doing the pimping/trafficking, and this seems to be an emerging trend on the subject. It suits the status quo very well to see prostitution as only something women do to themselves or do to each other, and once again serves to render the men involved – the demand side – invisible.

I found the article via the Feminist Law Professors blog, and the blogger Ann Bartow, makes a good point about this:

That more European women than men were convicted of trafficking doesn’t prove more women are engaged in it. But the fact that many female “former victims,” unable to exit the trade, cut the best deals for themselves they can under the circumstances by becoming pimps so that they no longer have to sexually service men shouldn’t be surprising.

This comes from the Time article:

Baghdad’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Nawal al-Samarraie, resigned last month in protest of the lack of resources provided to her by the government. “The ministry is just an empty post,” she told TIME. “Why do I come to the office every day if I don’t have any resources?” Yet even al-Samarraie doesn’t think sex-trafficking is an issue. “It’s limited,” she said, adding that she believed the girls involved choose to engage in prostitution.

Now I’m just wondering where it could be that she gets the idea that so many women and girls ‘choose’ to enter prostitution, and that that isn’t a problem?

Carnival of Radical Feminists

Part one, up at Incorrigible Radical Feminist. Our very popular (‘popular’) What are we Reclaiming For? is included.

67th Carnival Against Sexual Violence

Up at abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open.

Quote of the Day: “Transgression”

“The argument that proponents of pornography are in some way countercultural is rather thin considering the way that pornography has been mainstreamed into Western culture, but some still cling to the romantic notion that pornographers are ‘transgressive’ in using or defending the practice, rather than simply the flag bearers of male dominance.”

Sheila Jeffreys,
The Industrial Vagina

Quote of the Day: Food Porn

Today’s quote is from I Blame the Patriarchy, but, this time, not from Twisty herself!

Blamer Rootlesscosmo has this very good point to make about how the word ‘porn’ has fallen into everyday usage:

There was a thread at IBTP a while back that discussed the use of such phases as “food porn,” etc. […] “food porn,” “real estate porn,” and suchlike promotional materials focus on the desire of the viewer; we know better than to think the pecan pie wants to be eaten or the beach house to be sold. But this is exactly what the producers and defenders of real porn — pictures of rape — always try to do, because that takes attention away from the women being raped in its production. So I’d venture that because “food porn” (etc.) foreground the viewer’s desire and fulfillment, the use of these terms (which I’ve used in the past but will try to eliminate from my vocabulary) reinforces the pimps’ marketing.

One of the many great things about IBTP is that the comments are always worth reading – a great relief after the self-harm of reading CiF!

Iceland to Ban Stripping and Prostitution

From the Iceland Review Online

Minister of Social Affairs Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir presented an action plan against human trafficking yesterday, which includes placing bans on operating strip clubs and purchasing sexual services.

It is hoped that the ban will take effect before the parliamentary elections on April 25.

“Human trafficking is the most disgusting form of international and organized crime that exists in the world,” Jóhannesdóttir said while presenting the 25-point action plan, Fréttabladid reports.

(Found via the Radical Left blog)

A snap-shot of Western sexuality through two weeks of PostSecret

With emphasis on Evangelical, abstinence-only ‘educated’, porn-sick, woman-hating, patriarchal North American culture.